The Old Man and the Starfish {The Power of One}

Cynicism is my strong suit,  and that’s not necessarily a good thing. The negative voices in my head continually tell me, “This won’t work.” “Things won’t change.” “Why bother?”

 Even though I love the work that Compassion International does, I admit that the cynic in me creeps up and makes me doubt that one person (me) has the power to impact or change someone’s life (Happyness, Reson, José).  Maybe you need a reminder, too.

Behold, “The Old Man and the Starfish…”

Photo Credit: The Marque

The Old Man and the Starfish
Author: Unknown

There was a young man walking down a deserted beach just before dawn. In the distance he saw a frail old man. As he approached the old man, he saw him picking up stranded starfish and throwing them back into the sea.

The young man gazed in wonder as the old man again and again threw the small starfish from the sand to the water. He asked, “Old man, why do you spend so much energy doing what seems to be a waste of time?”

The old man explained that the stranded starfish would die if left in the morning sun. ” But there must be thousands of beached and millions of starfish!” exclaimed the young man. “How can you make any difference?”

The old man looked down at the small starfish in his hand and as he threw it into the safety of the sea, he said, “I made a difference to this one.”

Check out the work of Compassion. You might not be able to change the world, but you might just change the world for one child through one-on-one correspondence and sponsorship that provides education, food, health care and spiritual guidance.


How have you tried to make a difference in a person’s life today?

This entry was posted in Compassion International, Missions, Poverty and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Old Man and the Starfish {The Power of One}

  1. Amy says:

    This is one of my favorite stories and one that I tell to people when they say that I won’t make a difference.

  2. Kelli says:

    Great reminder of the power of one. Thanks!

  3. heather joy says:

    I love this post. :] thank you for sharing this story.

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